Judge approves Providence pension overhaul deal

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- A state judge has signed off on the settlement the city of Providence reached with unions and retirees over its pension overhaul.

Superior Court Judge Sarah Taft-Carter ruled on Monday that the agreement is fair, adequate and reasonable and called it a model for other municipalities to follow. The ruling removes one of the last major procedural hurdles before the cost-saving agreement can be finalized.

Providence Mayor Angel Taveras (tuh-VEHR'-us) says the ruling marks an "important milestone" as Providence moves to put its finances on a fiscally sustainable path. He has said the settlements he negotiated freezing pensions and making other benefits changes helped avert a municipal bankruptcy and stave off costly litigation.

A final hearing has been scheduled for April 12.